SEREMBAN: The Department of Environment (DOE) has narrowed its probe into the contamination of Sg Buah to a lorry spilling its cargo of palm oil-related products at 45.9km mark of the Elite Highway following an accident on Oct 22.
State director Norhazni Mat Sari said the DOE was trying to establish those involved in the accident and would summon them to record their statements.
“After conducting thorough checks, we found no evidence to link any of the 59 industries operating in Nilai as claimed by some quarters earlier.
“We have sent soil and river water samples from the accident site to the Chemistry Department for analysis,” she told reporters after a dialogue with representatives from the industries at her office.
Norhazni said under Section 38 of the Environmental Quality Act, the DOE was empowered to summon any party for questioning when probing such matters.
She said industries were duty bound under the law to notify the DOE whenever such accidents happened, adding that in the Oct 22 case, the DOE was not notified.
“We found out about the accident two days later when investigating what caused the river water to emit a strange odour,” she said.
The water authorities in Selangor had to shut down the Sg Semenyih water treatment plant on Oct 28, upon detecting a strong odour in raw water sourced from Sg Buah.
It also built three bunds at the confluence of Sg Buah and Sg Semenyih to prevent water from flowing to the treatment plant.
Since then, the Selangor authorities had also used powder activated carbon to neutralise the odour at the stretch which runs in the state.
To a claim by the Selangor government that the section of Sg Buah was contaminated by a chemical known as 4-bromodiphenyl ether – a compound typically used as a flame retardant – Norhazni said this could only be confirmed after samples sent to the Chemistry Department had been analysed.
Asked on the purpose of the meeting, Norhazni said this was to get their commitment that the industries in Nilai would not discharge hazardous chemicals into Sg Buah – an important source of raw water.
She said during the dialogue, the DOE instructed all industries licensed to discharge treated effluents into Sg Buah to conduct daily tests to ensure their activities did not pollute the river.
“We will send them notices today on the need for a guided self-regulation.
“My officers will drop in at any time at their premises to inspect these records,” she added.
Norhazni said at present, these industries were required to keep records of effluents discharged into Sg Buah weekly or monthly, depending on the type of treated effluent released.
“Of the 59, 14 industries are licensed to do so,” she said.